Zuma's SABC appointments dismissed as praise singers

Johannesburg - Opposition parties came out against President Jacob Zuma's appointment of Mbulaheni Maguvhe as SABC chairperson and Leah Khumalo his deputy.

The Congress of People (Cope) have the dubbed the two "praise singers".

"Luthuli House will in effect control the SABC," Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement on Saturday.

"The SABC, like the ruling party in Parliament, will continue with whitewashing misdemeanours and continue to regard all us fools."

Zuma announced Maguvhe and Khumalo's appointment on Friday.

Like the DA, Cope was of the opinion that Maguvhe and Khumalo were praise singers of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The DA MP Gavin Davis on Friday said Maghuve got the job because he remained loyal to Muthambi and Motsoeneng.

Maghuve, along with Khumalo, had voted in favour of Motsoeneng's appointment as COO in July last year, he said.

"This was in direct contravention of the public protector’s directive that Motsoeneng be suspended and disciplined for lying about his matric certificate and other acts of fraud and corruption."

"He is now being rewarded for getting rid of excellent and independently-minded board members and protecting Motsoeneng when he should have been fired."

Motsoeneng’s appeal against the Western Cape High Court's order that he be suspended pending a disciplinary inquiry, was set to be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in September.

In April, Judge Ashton Schippers upheld a ruling that Motsoeneng be suspended and a disciplinary hearing take place within 60 days of the ruling, pending the appeal process.

The DA filed the interim application in December 2014, arguing that the high court order against Motsoeneng be enforced following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into alleged bribery at the SABC.

She established Motsoeneng's salary had increased from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year; he had misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC and purged senior staff.

Madonsela recommended a new SABC chief operating officer be appointed within 90 days.

Muthambi, however, permanently appointed Motsoeneng to the position in July last year.

Bloem said Cope believed the independence of the public broadcaster had been wilfully compromised.

"Cope will not support such appointments to the SABC.

"We cannot countenance the SABC becoming an out and out propaganda machine," said Bloem.

The IFP said the SABC board would only be credible and effective when it is separated from politics.

"For as long as it is treated as a cadre-deployment division of the ANC, it will not be able to fully and independently executive its mandate in the public interest," said IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe.

The party said it rejected Zuma's appointment of Maghuve and Khumalo.

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